Clinical Teacher Training for health professionals: From blended to online and (maybe) back again?

Clin Teach. 2021 Dec;18(6):630-640. doi: 10.1111/tct.13411. Epub 2021 Aug 22.

Abstract

Background: The Clinical Teacher Training (CTT) programme was originally developed as an interprofessional, blended learning programme, to support health professionals working across health services within Australia, although it has also been delivered internationally. With the disruption of COVID-19, we rapidly moved to 'online only' delivery. We sought to modify the programme, ensuring that the constructivist paradigms important for our learner experience through the original blended format were maintained in the online platform.

Approach: Consisting of 10 modules on a range of topics, the new CTT online only programme was facilitated online across 6 weeks with asynchronous and synchronous assessable activities, and provision of peer and facilitator feedback. The learning outcomes for each module were similar to the 'blended learning' format. The new programme was delivered three times throughout 2020 and completed by a total of 208 health professionals from across 10 metropolitan and rural health districts.

Evaluation: The focus of our evaluation was on the programme's final 2020 iteration, for which we had ethics approval. Participants (n = 59) were from diverse health professions, across five metropolitan and rural health districts. We prioritised the learner experience in constructing our evaluation strategy. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected by post-course questionnaire and analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. Twenty participants (34%) responded to the post-course questionnaire. Participants valued the structure, topics, clear outcomes, timeframe, online resources, small group activities, feedback and the flexibility and accessibility afforded by online only delivery. However, participants identified a need for additional 'real-time' engagement in activities. Faculty were surprised by the time required to adequately facilitate online learning, and similarly, valued the real-time interactions.

Implications: The online only CTT programme provided an excellent, scalable framework to ensure continued provision of a relevant and accessible training resource for clinicians working in metropolitan and regional/rural health services. Learner-reported achievement of programme learning outcomes was not negatively impacted by online only delivery. Balancing these resource advantages with learner preferences and our desire to build active teaching networks, we will continue to host the majority of the programme online, while offering short face-to-face sessions within local contexts.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Health Occupations
  • Health Personnel / education
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Teacher Training*